Peter wants to know if he can roll his own VPN using a NAS. Leo says he can create a VPN using any computer. It just needs a VPN server. OpenVPN is one such. WireGuard is the best choice. It's part of Linux already. But if he's thinking of doing it to work, make sure he has permission to do so.
Dale updated to Windows 10, and it screwed up his laptop. He had it all fixed, and it turned out to be a dead hard drive. So he has a new hard drive, but now the program he wrote in Access to collect his library of books won't open in an open-source database like Libre Office, while it worked before. What can he do? Leo says as long as Dale has the original Access database file, he should be able to convert it into something more easily readable by Libre Office. Dale can also try using the free Microsoft Access Runtime utility to read the database file directly.
Karen wants to know if she should flash her firmware on her router to get it to work better. Leo says that in a way, you flash that firmware almost every time you update. But if you're talking about using third-party firmware, they can be very good, but they are limited in the routers they support. Check out DD-WRT.com and look in the router database to see if it's compatible. Most routers don't support it, sadly. What Leo recommends is ASUS routers, because they use their own flavor of DD-WRT.
Dan is running home automation in his home with plenty of products. He wants to run ZWave and needs to know which hub to get? Leo says it's usually best to keep within the set ecosystem. They don't like to play cross-platform. Check out Stacy Higginbotham's Stacy on IoT podcast. She also uses WinkHub, which allows her to use ZWave.
Grant thinks that home assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Echo are great for home automation, but he hates talking to a box and knowing that it listens to everything he says. He wants more control over what it hears and what it doesn't. Leo says that there is an open source version called OpenHab, that is highly customizable and completely internal. And it runs on Raspberry Pi. There's also Mycroft.
John wants to know if Microsoft Office comes with Windows. Leo says it doesn't, but there's an open source option called Libre Office, which is free, and will do most of what MS Office does, including reading all Office document files. Buying Office is very expensive, but he can do a monthly subscription rate, which is about $100 a year for Office Home. It's the most affordable solution.
Peter has a non profit and he's looking for a database to keep track of his clientele. Leo says that BatchBook is good. It's $35 a month, and free to try. Other options include Donor Snap and NonProfitEasy. Leo says that there's probably some free solutions as well. Peter should check out NonProfitHub.org for more suggestions.
Tony wants to know how to check to be sure the ISO of open source software is legit. Leo says that an ISO is found to be legit by signing. A hash has to be generated in order to provide proof of a legitimate ISO. If the ISO has changed, then the hash would be modified. There's also a signing key, which is based on GPG encryption. It has to be authenticated by the developers of the software.
Paul wants to know about Libre Office. Leo says that Libre is open source software and it's free. It has many of the same features as Microsoft Office. It's just as good, but is not as polished as Microsoft. Leo's a fan of it.
If Paul would rather have Microsoft Office, he should check out Microsoft Office Web. It's a stripped down version of Office that he can use online and it's free.
Rusty is an open source fan and has heard about the Ubuntu phone. Should he wait for it? Leo says that he's a fan of Ubuntu but it's very unfinished and he imagines that a phone OS is probably going to be the same. It's primarily aimed at emerging markets where price is a consideration. If you like Ubuntu, it's probably very usable. But there won't be a lot of apps for it and that's going to be a frustration,.